Switzerland’s mountainous landscape is what attracts thousands of visitors every year, and for many of us, no visit to the country is complete without boarding a cable car, a funicular or a cogwheel train, and heading to the summit of a mountain for spectacular views.
And whilst anyone who has Googled Swiss mountain excursions is probably familiar with names like Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn, Pilatus, Titlis and Gornergrat, there are plenty of other lesser-known mountain excursions to enjoy, too.
One example is the excursion to Rothorn, the ‘house’ mountain of Brienz, not far from Interlaken. This excursion is steeped in history as you reach the summit of the mountain aboard a steam train that first started operating over 130 years ago.
My guest today, Dominique Horne, works for Brienz Rothorn Bahn (or Brienz Rothorn Railways), and she’s going to share all the reasons why an excursion on the steam train is a must-do activity.
As well as telling us about the history of the railway, she’s got lots of great info to help you plan your excursion including which is the best side of the train to sit on, why you should purchase a seat reservation, how long to allow for your visit, and lots more.
[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]
As always, I’d like to say a huge thanks to the folks from Switzerland Tourism for sponsoring the podcast. For loads of inspiration and tips to help you plan your Swiss vacation, visit their website, myswitzerland.com.
If you need the train ride of a lifetime, you need Switzerland. Why not hop aboard the Brienz Rothorn Bahn?
Click the green button below to listen:
In this episode you’ll learn about:
- Brienz Rothorn Bahn – Switzerland’s only daily steam train
- The history of the Brienz Rothorn Bahn
- What to expect on board the steam train
- Things to do on and on the way to the mountain summit
- How and where to book tickets on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn
- Operating dates of the Brienz Rothorn Bahn
- Tips to make your journey go smoothly
Dominique Horne is the Sales Manager of the Brienz Rothorn Railway. In her role, she is responsible for the European and overseas markets, as well as overseeing the reservation department for important key accounts. Hailing from the village of Bönigen by Lake Brienz, Dominique brings extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of the markets to her role.
Places and important information mentioned in this episode
>> Brienz – a picturesque village on the shores of Lake Brienz, Brienz is known for its woodcarving traditions. Brienz can be reached from Interlaken by train and boat.
>> Planalp – the intermediate station on the Brienz Rothorn Railway line is known as Planalp. This is a popular starting point for hikes, admiring the mountain and lake views and enjoying a drink or meal in the restaurant.
>> Brienzer Rothorn – Brienz’s ‘house’ mountain, Brienzer Rothorn is the tallest mountain in the range that makes up the Emmentaler Alps. It stands at 2,350 metres above sea level.
>> Brienz Rothorn Bahn – Switzerland’s only daily* steam train, the nostalgic Brienz Rothorn Bahn has been operating since 1892. (*daily during the operating season – see below.)
>> Operating dates – the Brienz Rothorn Bahn’s pre-season starts in early way with trips to the intermediate station at Planalp. The main season runs from the first Saturday in June until approximately 22 October, with eight services per day to Rothorn Kulm.
- Conveniently buy tickets for the Brienz Rothorn Bahn online (in season only).
- Book your seat reservations one or two days in advance to guarantee a seat on your preferred departure.
- Travel early in the day – you may get to see ibex grazing on the mountain.
- Holders of a Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Card receive a 50% discount* off the ticket price.
- Holders of the Berner Oberland Pass or Tell Pass travel for free* on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn.
*Optional seat reservation fees are not discounted.
Helpful resources about the Brienz Rothorn Bahn
For helpful information about the Brienz Rothorn Railway, visit the official website where you’ll also find timetables and the ticket shop to book your seat reservations.
The Instagram account of Brienz Rothorn Bahn is a great place to see photos and videos of this historic steam train.
You can read our detailed guide to planning your excursion on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn here.
Holders of a Swiss Travel Pass, Swiss Half Fare Card, Berner Oberland Pass or Tell Pass can take advantage of discounted tickets on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn. Buy your Swiss rail pass here.
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This episode is sponsored by Switzerland Tourism
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